What is the proper cellphone etiquette at funerals?

Today, almost 5 billion people in the world own a mobile phone. Clearly, smartphone use is intertwined with daily life, so you may forget to turn it off. After all, staying connected in this digital world remains the top priority. It is evident when you walk down the street or eat dinner in a restaurant. People are just continually texting or scrolling through their social media profiles. But, in certain cases, like funeral services programs, you must draw the line. The last thing the bereaved family wants to hear is your cellphone’s ring tone during a heart-warming eulogy.

As a considerate person, don’t forget your manners during sensitive times. Though cellphone use is acceptable in most public areas, people still frown upon it during church rituals and other religious worship services. In the same token, many people find it unacceptable and even a tad annoying to hear cellphones in places that are usually quiet. Examples of these are theaters and funerals. Thus, if you will be attending funeral ceremonies, don’t forget your cellphone manners. Save yourself from the embarrassment. Take note of these funeral cellphone etiquette tips, so you don’t end up looking like an insensitive and uncivilized person.


The Number One Rule

As a rule of thumb, you must limit your cellphone rules during funerals. It is not only distracting but very disrespectful to scroll Facebook or play games. It draws away from the focus on honoring the deceased. Remember, this is the last few moments you have with the dearly departed, so proper care and attention must be given. On top of that, this is your time to sympathize and offer support with family and friends of the deceased who you may not have seen in a long time. If you really cannot afford to turn off your phone, put it on silent mode.

Should you be waiting for an important message, you can also place it on vibrate mode. However, you must be mindful that it won’t vibrate loudly against your wallet or seat. It defeats the purpose of muting the ring tone as the sound vibrations will echo loudly, too. Remember, keep your phone away during these times:

At the graveside service

  • During the funeral program
  • When talking with other funeral guests
  • At the ash releasing ceremony


The Proper Conduct If You Cannot Miss Text Messages and Calls

Because no one can plan for life, an emergency situation can crop up which you cannot ignore. For example, you have a critical family issue, or you’re a doctor with a sudden critical patient. If something occurs and you cannot disregard giving a reply, you must keep these suggestions in mind.

When you are waiting for an urgent text message, say from a client with a pressing concern, you can discreetly read your phone from within your bag. Similarly, you can also do so from the side of your pocket if you do not have a bag. However, the key is to be very discreet, so others do not notice what you’re doing.

Should you need to take a phone call, step out of the service. Keep the phone call very brief and don’t talk in a loud voice. This is the most respectful thing you can do for the other guests who are expressing their grief. Remember to be mindful and considerate of others because it is a very difficult time.

And keep in mind, only pick up the phone if it is an absolute emergency. After all, services and visitations usually run for less than two hours. Allotting this time for the deceased is the best tribute you can give before the earthly body is gone forever. Besides, you are also there to offer support for the ones left behind.


The Proper Way to Handle Your Smartphone Camera

High-tech smartphones make it easy for everyone to take high-quality pictures and videos. However, a funeral is not the time to be “trigger” happy. The right conduct dictates that you must only snap pics when it is appropriate. Logically, you can take photos of things like flower arrangements, photo walls, and other memorabilia. However, if you want to be sure, ask permission from the immediate family. And when in doubt, just don’t take the photo.

If you cannot resist the urge to take a photo of your deceased friend’s memorial display, do it very quickly. Keep other guests in mind, and don’t distract them with your grand gestures. It may be best to take photos when there’s not a lot of people. And if you feel compelled to post anything on social media, make sure that your content is fit for sharing. Above all else, don’t post while you are at the funeral. Keep your attention on the services and not on social media.

What do you think of cellphone use at a funeral or memorial service? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. We would love to hear your unfettered thoughts.